What did the EU ever do for us?

Saved us 50-100 billion euros per year

“EU finance ministers have unanimously supported a new package of rules for making payments across the union without extra charges. The move could lead to cross-border payment transactions costing the same as payments within one member state. The so-called Payment Services Directive, adopted on Tuesday (27 March), provides the legal framework for a single payments area – with no national barriers to impede companies from offering their services across borders and no extra fees for consumers to use their debit or credit cards abroad or send money anywhere in the EU. The European Commission believes that the reduction of costs will save the EU economy 50-100 billion euros per year and make it simpler and cheaper for Europeans to make cross-border payments.”

Stopped the mobile phone companies overcharging us

“EU travelers could first notice a difference when they slip across borders in August: Their phones will beep and tell them how much a call home will cost. And when they return, they may see their phone bills cut by as much as 70 percent, compared with the last time they called friends or family members from the beach.” link

Protected us from dangerous chemicals

“Legislation requiring the safety testing of tens of thousands of chemicals – many in everyday use – has come into effect across the EU. For the first time, it will be up to industry, rather than the regulatory authorities, to prove that chemicals are safe.” link

Introduced proper labelling for organic foods

“Farmers who sell produce containing at least 95 percent organic ingredients will use a special EU logo, along with a label to indicate the product’s origin. Below that, there will be labelling of the organic ingredients present. “This is an excellent agreement which will help consumers to recognize organic products throughout the EU more easily and give them assurances of precisely what they are buying” link

Made us recycle electronic waste

“I think this is an absolutely great piece of legislation,” said Jonathan Wright, a senior supply chain executive for Accenture, the management consultancy. In the past, all that companies focused on was getting products made and getting them out to customers,” he explained. Now, organisations are having to think about what is going to happen after the product has been sold.” link

Saved us $40 billion a year in energy costs

“Industry and households throughout Europe could save £40bn a year after the EU’s domestic energy supply market was yesterday opened for full-scale competition. The move promises to help put an end to distortions that cost UK consumers £10bn last year.” link

Made it easier and cheaper to invest in other EU countries.

“From now on, it should be easier and cheaper for all of us to buy investments across the EU.” Link

Reduced the level of toxic chemicals in the environment

My local Tesco [and all other battery retailers] now has to have a bin where batteries can be discarded and returned for recycling [2006 EU Batteries directive].  We are not forced to use them but they should start reducing the toxic chemicals which are going into landfills.   link

Forced Google to improve its privacy protections   Link

Pressure from the EU has forced Google to reduce the period it keeps IP address data from 24 to 9 months.

Fined companies who steal from us

“Sasol, Total, ExxonMobil and six others were fined €676 million yesterday (1 October 2008) for participating in a cartel that for 13 years fixed prices of paraffin wax, a petrochemical product widely used for consumer goods like paper cups, candles and tyres. The companies involved in the cartel, dubbed the ‘paraffin mafia’, exchanged sensitive commercial information and essentially manipulated European markets for paraffin wax between 1992 and 2005, according to the Commission. Meetings were regularly held in top hotels across Europe.

Vote to ban dangerous agricultural chemicals

“The European parliament  voted by a sweeping majority to tighten the use of pesticides in agriculture and to ban 22 treatments.The British government and the Conservatives are against the legislation, but the ban and restrictions were carried by a vote of 577 to 61, putting pressure on the 27 EU member states to support the decision.”

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